Printers and MFPs with a factory continuous ink supply system are no longer a wonder. We are testing one of the advanced HP models.

A year ago, HP launched its Smart Tank line of inkjet MFPs with built-in continuous ink delivery. We took the older Smart Tank, 615 models, to evaluate how easy refuelling is and how much cheaper printing costs. And at the same time, get to know the MFP.

You can also read Review of HP Neverstop Laser 1200w MFP: Print Without Cartridge.

Technical specifications HP Smart Tank 615

  • Printing technology: inkjet
  • Paper size: up to A4
  • Number of colours: 4
  • Maximum resolution for b / w printing: 1200×1200 dpi
  • Maximum resolution for color printing: 4800×1200 dpi
  • Maximum scanning resolution: 1200×1200 dpi
  • Maximum copy resolution: 600×600 dpi
  • Print speed: 22 ppm (b/w A4), 16 ppm (colour A4)

According to the characteristics, it is clear that the device is intended for use at home or in a small office. The four colours are not conducive to highly artistic photo printing, but there should be no problems with images in presentations and documents.

CISS: How beneficial is it?

The MFP itself is much more expensive than conventional inkjet devices, but you need to consider the complete set. In addition to the device itself, the box contains a supply of ink, which (according to the manufacturer) is enough for 18,000 monochrome or 8,000 colour pages. Even if you print 100-200 pages every month, the starter kit will last at least three years.

Branded ink costs about $12 per bottle of 70 ml. It is more convenient to buy them in a set – then all four colours can be taken for $27. For comparison, the HP 650 Advantage Black cartridge, designed to print up to 360 pages, retail stores offer $16. I don’t even want to pick up a calculator here.

How to fill the containers?

How does the refuelling process generally take place? Our editors still remember the first CISS with removable jars. Then came the fashion for home-made CISS: on the Internet, you could find many instructions on how to assemble a system from scrap materials. However, the reliability and print quality with such designs left much to be desired.

Factory CISS is much better thought out. In the HP Smart Tank case, you need to open the lid, unfasten the cap at the container with the desired colour, and insert the ink bottle on top after removing the sealing sticker on the bottle’s neck.

Then the ink begins to flow by gravity. There is no need to press on the bottle. The most amazing thing is that we did not spill a single drop by having filled the system. Even when the bottle is detached, the ink does not get onto the outer surfaces.

The capacity for coloured ink holds 70 ml (in fact, the bottles have the same volume), for black ink – 135. Our printer was completely new, so we emptied all the bottles. But if you need to refill the CISS, this can also be done – lift the bottle, and the ink supply stops. The ink level can be easily monitored using the built-in sensor.

What else is interesting?

We live in an age when the software capabilities are often more interesting than the hardware’s capabilities. All MFPs work on the same principle, but not every model has additional interesting functions. Of the features of the HP Smart Tank 615, we most liked the ability to connect wirelessly and work through the free HP Smart app.

After the massive departure to the remote location, many laptop owners had a problem: print documents? Of course, this cannot be called a problem, but most often, you had to get up from your favourite couch, carry the device to the table and connect the printer with a cable (if there is only USB-C on the laptop, then often with the help of an adapter). With new models, everything is incomparably simpler. Just connect the HP Smart Tank 615 to your home Wi-Fi network once, and you can print from any device using the same network. True, you will have first to install the HP utility from the manufacturer’s website. The MFP supports both Wi-Fi bands (2.4 and 5.0 GHz).

Moreover, you can send documents for printing from mobile devices through the application. It also contains all scans when you start scanning, again through the application. Moreover, there are settings for other methods of obtaining using the so-called smart tasks. For example, you can select a cloud folder as storage and set up file transfers to it. Or send them by mail using a ready-made script.

There is one more pleasant point that we deem it necessary to note. Inkjets are inkjets: if you do not print on them for a long time, the ink may dry out in the print head. Cleaning with regular means does not always help – sometimes you have to resort to service services, including changing the node.

The HP Smart Tank 615 has a print head (more precisely, the heads are one for colour and the other for black ink) is an easily removable element. You can buy it yourself and replace it at any time: doing this is no more difficult than installing a new cartridge. Actually, the owner of the new printer is doing this in preparation for the first launch. This is what the head of this MFP looks like.

The fact that such high-tech devices are made available for service with their own hands is great. It is too early to judge the design’s reliability, but we will definitely return to this issue a few months or later.

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